KC and the Sunshine Band’s parade of chart-busting hits from “Shake Your Booty” to “That’s the Way I Like It” sold hundreds of millions of copies and remain a staple at bar mitzvahs and weddings. Now, the “KC” in the band, Harry Wayne Casey, is leading their comeback with a new album, Feeling You! The Sixties, covering songs by his favorite performers of that decade — from The Righteous Brothers to (surprise!) Bob Dylan.
The Saturday Evening Post: When you started out, did you have any idea that your music would not only last but find new audiences?
KC: When I began we were doing R&B, but then the movie Saturday Night Fever was a hit. We were on the soundtrack with “Boogie Shoes” and suddenly our songs became “disco.” They don’t call it disco anymore, but today dance music is everywhere. I’m excited that our music is still doing it for everyone from babies to grandmas.
SEP: You seem comfortable with fame now, but at an early stage of your career, you surprised a lot of fans by dropping out for several years.
KC: We had a lot of success. But at the height of it, I felt very lonely and isolated. Everywhere we went, there would be thousands and thousands of people standing outside of our hotel cheering. I wanted to be in that crowd so bad. I did a lot of partying and got really heavy into drugs for awhile. Quitting the business for a few years ended up being good because I got a new perspective on life. These days, I’m more relaxed when I go on stage. I even make fun of myself, like how much weight I’ve gained since I quit smoking. But I’m in better voice than I’ve ever been in my entire life.
SEP: Your new album is a departure for you, covering classic songs from the ’60s. What was it about this period that makes it so compelling?
KC: Are you kidding? The ’60s was like a free time.
We had three TV stations that pretty much went off at midnight and not as many radio stations as today. You didn’t have as many choices, but you didn’t have to worry if your front door was locked. You didn’t walk around being preoccupied holding a phone in your hand all the time. So, it’s just an interesting time in life that’s gone forever, you know? One Buddy Miles’ song on the new album, “Dreams,” just takes me back to a certain time and place. I can picture us there, me and my friends, and it’s so amazing. I mean, music gets us through sad times, through falling in love, through breakups — in some ways it’s our personal psychiatrist.